Defense Leads the Way for No. 18/19 Bruins

Feb. 3, 2013

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - UCLA's smothering defense and balanced offense easily overcame a Utah team beaten up by a stretch of games against ranked opponents.

Alyssia Brewer scored 16 points and the 18th-ranked Bruins forced 18 turnovers in a 70-42 victory on Sunday, extending the Bruins' winning streak to four games.

All 10 UCLA players scored and nine of them grabbed at least one rebound. The Bruins held the Utes to 16 points in the first half, similar to the 15 points they allowed in the opening half against No. 22 Colorado in a win on Friday night.

"As a team, we've been reminding each other we need to come out aggressively," said Brewer, who had six rebounds and four assists. "Our team is growing. It's the consistency we've talked about every game."

Antonye Nyingifa added 13 points and eight rebounds, and Nirra Fields had 11 points for the Bruins (17-4, 8-2 Pac-12), who have won 10 of 12. They limited their turnovers to 11 after committing a season-high 29 on Friday.

UCLA coach Cori Close attributed the fewer miscues to Saturday's film session.

"It wasn't a beat-yourself-up session. It was we got to figure this out," she said.

Michelle Plouffe had 14 points and 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season, and Iwalani Rodrigues added 11 points for the Utes (11-10, 2-8). They've lost four straight - all on the road - and 10 of 11 after winning their first seven games. The losing stretch included playing ranked Stanford, California and Colorado twice each last month.

"We were gassed," Utah coach Anthony Levrets said, adding that the Bruins "put a lot of pressure on the ball. They are big and long. It was size at every position."

UCLA had the game under control from the start, racing to a 14-1 lead as the Utes missed all eight of their field-goal attempts and committed nine turnovers. Utah didn't score its first basket until Plouffe's layup at 11:19.

"They were pressing and trapping us," Plouffe said. "They're so athletic. We didn't handle it very well. In their half-court defense they were switching everything. It was hard for me to get it inside or outside because nobody was open."

The Bruins extended their lead to 25-5, with Kari Korver hitting a 3-pointer. They shot 44 percent in the half and led 34-16 at the break.

"We wanted to hold them to 30 points the whole game," Fields said.

That didn't happen, but Utah got no closer than 17 points early in the second half on a 3-pointer by Rodrigues. UCLA answered with eight straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from Fields, to lead 44-19.

The Utes put together their only extended run of the game, 12-6, to get to 50-31. Then the Bruins took over again, outscoring Utah 13-2 to take a 63-33 lead. Brewer had seven points and Fields had her third 3-pointer as UCLA closed in on its 10th straight home conference win.

Kacy Swain had 11 rebounds in helping the Bruins control the boards, 42-30. They shot 42 percent from the floor and 3-point range while owning a 32-12 edge in the paint.

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